FDA approves new drug to treat advanced breast cancer

test tubes - pixabay - research

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Piqray (alpelisib) tablets to treat men and postmenopausal women whose advanced breast cancer is hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative and PIK3CA-mutated.

Piqray is to be used in combination with the FDA-approved endocrine therapy fulvestrant. The PIK3CA-mutated, advanced or metastatic breast cancer (as detected by an FDA-approved test) is indicated following progression on or after an endocrine-based regimen.

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Replumbing the lymphatic system with a pill: still a dream

microscope - pixabay

Currently no U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved therapy can reestablish lymphatic circulation after a patient develops lymphedema. Up to 10 million people in the United States and more than 100 million around the world have lymphedema.

A phase II clinical trial at Stanford University School of Medicine tested whether the drug ubenimex, a leukemia treatment used in Japan, can spur the growth of new lymphatic vessels for patients with secondary leg lymphedema. It was the “first pharmaceutical company-sponsored trial for a medical treatment of lymphedema.”

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Zometa, an adjunctive breast cancer treatment

Zometa is (a necessary) evil.

I got my first infusion on Friday April 22; I had to have some IV fluids because blood work showed slight dehydration on Thursday (migraine on Wednesday = sleeping much of day = not enough fluids ingested).

Very tired on Saturday, which got more pronounced as day went on. Hit a wall at the ballet Saturday evening. Slight nausea. Chills.

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Lymph node transfer is a viable treatment for severe lymphedema

breast anatomy

“Cancer was a piece of cake,” Virginia Harrod says. “It was the lymphedema that almost killed me.”

NPR reports that nine months after Harrod’s mastectomy, her cat scratched her hand. She wasn’t concerned at first, but her doctor “recognized her symptoms as a serious and advancing infection.”

Harrod was in the hospital for eight days, and that’s when she first learned she had lymphedema. Over the next 10 months, she was readmitted twice more with dangerous infections.

Lymphedema (secondary/acquired) is a common complication of breast cancer treatment, but it gets short shrift from doctors when patients are assessing treatment risks. My experience confirms this research finding.

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Proton therapy: one-quarter down

SCCA Proton Center

After seven treatments (21 to go) at Seattle Proton Therapy Center, I’ve learned patience and humor are key.

I keep reminding myself that there’s a particle accelerator somewhere “up there” and that the physics alone should make this awesome. But awesome doesn’t keep the blood flowing to my left arm when I’m stuck in an awkward “don’t move” position for a half-hour while the techs coax the machine out of a work stoppage!

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